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QC 1285 by Teazel

I think this is the third blog in a row that I have come up against Teazel, and I also seem to remember that my first ever blog was on one of his puzzles. So he feels like an old friend now and today's puzzle is probably the most lively one I have ever blogged (from him or anybody). Full of entertaining clues, including a couple of clever misdirections as well as two clues that I found a bit questionable as you will read. I really enjoyed it, so many thanks for a 10-minute (medium difficulty) work-out. It really was great fun.

FOI was 5A I believe, and my LOI was the lovely 22A, which was also my COD on a day when there were several good candidates. Coming in close behind were 8A, 16A, 20A, 3D and 9D.

As an aside, a few weeks ago I referred to CID (I think) as an acronym. Kevin (I believe it was him) rapped my knuckles on the basis that an acronym has to be pronounced in general usage as a word rather than as a series of letters, as in UNESCO, or NASA, or FIFA. I acknowledged his comment and owned up to loose usage as that was my understanding as well. However I heard on the radio the other day the string of letters 'MTCSA' referred to as an acronym in a comedy programme. In fact, in that context it was set up as a self-referential joke as the letters stand for 'Mysterious and Therefore Cool-Sounding Acronym'. So I thought I would check up on it in the dictionary and it seems after all that an acronym is simply a string of initial letters, whether it can be pronouced as a word or not.

So having straightened that out I deployed my own acronym, the NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter), which yielded no results.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

1 Things people are going to say? (8)
GOODBYES - cryptic definition. GOODBYES are what people who are going (i.e. leaving) will say. I don't think the syntax quite works, but it is such a neat idea that I feel it would be churlish to complain.
5 London statue painful to put back (4)
EROS - SORE backwards ('put back').
8 Persevering, even if difficult terrain (13)
THOROUGHGOING - can be rewritten as THO' (even if) ROUGH GOING (difficult terrain).
10 Edged forward, with hooter? (5)
NOSED - hooter = slang for nose. Reminds me of a dear friend now departed who had a very big nose. I once mentioned to someone that he had passed my room and "put his nose round the door", to which the reply was "not all of it, surely?"
11 A little European larva (7)
TADPOLE - nice bit of misdirection here if you only had the last checker 'E', as I did, in which case you might have started looking for a 6-letter word meaning 'little', onto which you could tack E for European. As it is the parsing is TAD (a little) + POLE (European).
12 Profit from one number by country-and-western singer (4,2)
CASH IN - I (one) + N (number) 'by' CASH (late lamented C&W singer Johnny). I never cared for his music much until he started producing some very thoughtful stuff towards the end of his life, most notably for me an excellent cover of Nick Cave's 'The Mercy Seat'.
13 Compete to block drunkard in Russian council (6)
SOVIET - VIE (compete) 'blocking' SOT (drunkard).
16 Popular, Castro, but no Christian (7)
INFIDEL - IN (popular) + FIDEL (Castro, the late Prime Minister and latterly President of Cuba). OK, the defiintion is 'no Christian', but it could equally well be 'Christian', as the word INFIDEL is also used by Muslims to describe non-Muslims.
18 Fit in curve round lake (5)
BLEND - BEND (curve) 'round' L (lake).
20 Person consulted appearing uninterested in listening (8,5)
SOUNDING BOARD - if you are listening to the words SOUNDING BOARD you could hear them as SOUNDING BORED (appearing uninterested).
21 Crazy food for squirrel (4)
NUTS - double definition.
22 Drink beginning to befuddle Dame Edna (8)
BEVERAGE - a lovely misdirection. The first thing any self-respecting solver would do here would be to pick out 'befuddle' as an anagrind and attempt to apply it to DAME EDNA as anagrist. This even remains feasible after you have all the vowels as checkers [sorry, this is incorrect - see comment by templarredux below] and then you are left with the unpromising Scrabble selection of D, M, D, N. At this point the light should dawn as you realise that Dame Edna's surname is Everage, and if you take B (the 'beginning to' Befuddle) and put it in front you get BEVERAGE.
1 Board work harmoniously (3,2)
GET ON - double definition.
2 Players sit: boos break out (7)
OBOISTS - straight anagram ('break out') of SIT BOOS.
3 No puritan, keen on American women? (5-6)
BROAD-MINDED - BROAD is American slang for a woman. If you are keen on American women, therefore, you might always have them on your mind, and so might be said to be BROAD-MINDED.
4 Crews have no head for heights (6)
EIGHTS - take the 'head' off Heights and you have EIGHTS (rowing crews).
6 One impaled on terrible horn — its? (5)
RHINO - the definition is 'ITS?', as the horn on which one is impaled could be that of a RHINO. This is another clue where I don't think the syntax quite works. I (one) 'impaled' on an anagram ('terrible') of HORN. Except that to my mind it is the 'terrible horn' that is impaled on 'one', given that it is the I that goes right into the middle of RHNO rather than the other way round.
7 Section of, say, people in street (7)
SEGMENT - EG (say) + MEN (people) in ST (street).
9 I obliged Ben to arrange feature of hotel room (6,5)
GIDEON BIBLE - a lovely little anagram (of I OBLIGED BEN ('to arrange')) and pleasing definition. Is it still the case in these godless times that the Gideon Society manage to sneak a bible into every hotel room? I must look for one and check next time I'm in a hotel.
12 Edges into study, bright red (7)
CRIMSON - RIMS (edges) in CON (study).
14 President to refuse to allow a Japanese art form (7)
IKEBANA - the two most common presidential visitors to Crossword Land are probably ABE (Abraham Lincoln) and IKE (Dwight D Eisenhower). Here we have IKE (president) + BAN (to refuse to allow) + A = IKEBANA, the Japanese art of flower arrangement (in case you didn't know).
15 With power thrust forward and fall precipitously (6)
PLUNGE - P (power) + LUNGE (thrust forward).
17 Quickly grabbing uniform for opera (5)
FAUST - FAST (quickly) 'grabbing' U (uniform).
19 Avoid Santa Fe Trail city (5)
DODGE - double definition, the second one being Dodge City in Kansas.


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 11th, 2019 07:09 am (UTC)
11 minutes with 8ac as my last one in, delayed because I couldn't see all the parsing and I like to include that in my solving times. For the umpteenth time the London statue is actually of Anteros but setters still ignore the fact. Don, you've blogged 8 by Teazel now.
Feb. 11th, 2019 10:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for the EROS factoid! This is one of the lovely by-products of crosswords, that you pick up stuff like that. Was it you who pointed out on my last outing that Bob Hope had been born here but took up American citizenship later? Thanks for that as well. He joins a long line of Brits who did great things but crossed the pond and are therefore remembered as American. Wasn't Thomas Edison another one?

Thanks also for the stat about Teazel.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 11th, 2019 07:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 11th, 2019 07:15 am (UTC)
An absolute shocker from me to start the week. Of the clues entirely in the top half I only had EROS after 10 minutes. Both long answers THOROUGHGOING and BROADMINDED, as well as GOODBYES and TADPOLEs eluded me to the end (hadn't associated tadpoles with larva and thought it would start AL). Even in the bottom half I couldn't get IKEBANA - never heard of IKE for President. I shall store that, thanks!
Feb. 11th, 2019 08:10 am (UTC)
This was my first DNF for a while with 1A, 9A and 1D left after 40 minutes. Too obscure overall to be really enjoyable.


Edited at 2019-02-11 08:11 am (UTC)
Feb. 11th, 2019 08:34 am (UTC)
Really knotty. Quickly realised that this was going to be a SCC time (23.34 in the e.) so relaxed and enjoyed. Thanks for the blog; after completing Sunday (hurrah), now appreciate, with my LOI, your ‘handle’ and avatar. Vaguely heard of IKEBANA, though it was a latecomer. THOROUGHGOING was tricky, GOODBYES hid and was LOI. I’ve seen a GIDEON BIBLE recently but can’t vouch for them being a universal feature. Bought the Dame Edna dummy so my COD.
Feb. 11th, 2019 10:41 am (UTC)
Thanks. My original handle when I first started coming here was in fact astarte as I wanted it to be, but something went wrong with my password which meant that I couldn't access the account again so I had to modify it. There was apparently a really complicated way for me to get the account back but it was so involved that I just gave up and set up another identity. (If any of you more experienced users happen to know an easy way for me to get that identity back then that would be much appreciated!)
Feb. 11th, 2019 08:36 am (UTC)
Dnf - literally
I found this tough going - so much so that after 15 minutes, when I’d finally wrestled ikebana into the grid, I thought I’d finished so pressed submit - only to find I hadn’t done 1ac. So I literally didn’t finish it all. A shame as I’d probably have given cod to 1ac.
Feb. 11th, 2019 09:29 am (UTC)
17 minutes for me, held up by the first and last of the acrosses, which I couldn’t see for ages, even with all of the checkers. I was convinced 22a was going to be an anagram of Dame Edna until his / her surname came to mind. Good challenge from Teazel, and a nice blog from Don.
Feb. 11th, 2019 09:36 am (UTC)
Tough start to the week! Very much in the SCC at 18 mins. Fell for all the misdirection, especially the anagram of "Dame Edna", my COD. (Don, it's not right to say that "This even remains feasible after you have all the vowels as checkers" - the checker vowels include three Es, whereas Dame Edna only has two. It was this that finally made me realise I was barking up the wrong tree!)

Thanks for explaining GOODBYES, my LOI - I don't think it works, for the reasons you give. Thank you Teazel as well.

Feb. 11th, 2019 10:21 am (UTC)
Oh yes. Sorry about that, you're quite right.
Feb. 11th, 2019 09:44 am (UTC)
This was a mixed bag for me. Never heard of Ikebana. Rhino had to be the answer but couldn't justify it - thanks for the explanation, but I'm not keen on it. Infidel can apply to any unbeliever but I would suggest that it is most often used by extremists Muslims with reference to Christians.
Feb. 11th, 2019 10:45 am (UTC)
IKEBANA turned up in the 15x15 recently as well. I know because while my mother had her spell in hospital I wasn't managing to do the 15x15s at all and now I have a backlog of about 20 to clear! Trying to do about 3 or 4 a day to catch up!
Feb. 11th, 2019 09:56 am (UTC)
No accurate time but slow for me. Not helped by only being able to complete it in fits and starts on my phone at work.

Last few were hard to crack, thoroughgoing, get on, goodbyes, but enjoyable.

Cod beverage.
Feb. 11th, 2019 10:52 am (UTC)
A lovely puzzle to start the week. Definitely on the wavelength for this one, as I finished in 7:47.
LOI was 1ac which I stared at for quite a while. Not a great clue in my opinion. Thanks to Teazel and Don.

Feb. 11th, 2019 11:15 am (UTC)
This one didn’t ‘flow’ for me in the way many QCs do. I felt that I was in a constant battle with the setter, every solution having to be prised from clue. The sign of a very good puzzle in my book. Too many candidates for COD to pick one.
Many thanks to setter and blogger.
Feb. 11th, 2019 11:31 am (UTC)
Too hard. Needed online help to get anywhere near completing it.
Feb. 11th, 2019 11:35 am (UTC)
Rocky Raccoon....
....had only to go back to his room to find GIDEON'S BIBLE. It was less simple for me.

Tricky-ish puzzle for a Monday, but within my target.

TIME 4:28
Feb. 11th, 2019 11:41 am (UTC)
Re: Rocky Raccoon....
Funnily enough, one of our members at Guisborough Folk Club sang Rocky Raccoon last night before I tackled the puzzle.
Re: Rocky Raccoon.... - philjordan - Feb. 11th, 2019 12:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 11th, 2019 11:38 am (UTC)
Poor welcome back to Blighty
Well! After 8 days of attempting the QC in the face of patchy Moroccan Internet coverage, I opened my paper copy this morning, now that I once more tread green sods rather than sand, and still failed to finish. Curses. I cheated re 14 down by looking up a list of Japanese art forms but there was nothing to help me solve 1 and 8 across until I gave in and read Don's excellent blog. I kind of get "goodbyes " but am frowning rather over "thoroughgoing " which I have always used to mean "complete" or "total". Hmmm. That's a GR from me. Oh, and to add to my crotchety bad temper, I didn't get 11 across either because I have never thought of a "tadpole" as a "larva". On the other hand, I really liked 10, 20 and 22 across, all of which are fab clues. Hoping for a better brain tomorrow. Thanks, Don and thanks, Teazel
Feb. 11th, 2019 12:05 pm (UTC)
I thought this was an excellent puzzle rather spoiled by the definition in 8a. For the same reasons as louisajaney it gets a GR from me, even it can be referenced in the dictionaries.
On a more positive note I 9d, 23a and LOI 1a put a smile on my face. Completed in 23.31.
Thanks for the blog
The 15x15 is worth a look today, I got about 2/3rds of it done in the first sitting and will have another crack at it later

Edited at 2019-02-11 12:07 pm (UTC)
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